What's in the Report?

Whatever the Austin ISD board of trustees decides to do with it, it now has in its hands the Facility Master Plan Task Force report. Formally delivered on March 28, the report combines conceptual changes to the district's approach to facilities planning with more specific brick-and-mortar plans for repairs and new buildings through the 2020-21 school year. For 2011-12, the proposals involve beginning the extra planning and research required to fix facility and educational inequality across the district; that would then feed into a decade of renovations, repairs, and new construction. For the long term, the task force recommends that the district adopt regular schedules for major events like bond packages and attendance zone redistricting.

However, the real sticking point remains the issue of school closures. While the main report recommends cutting costs by closing nine schools over the next three years, a supplemental report by some task force members savaged that idea. The authors (who included current City Council candidate Kathie Tovo and Susan Moffat, wife of Chronicle Publisher Nick Bar­baro) wrote that several academic studies show that shuttering or mothballing campuses does not save money, but in the long run costs more and generates worse academic outcomes than leaving kids where they are. Neighborhood activists have also argued that if the district is serious about filling existing seats, it needs to think outside the box. Sanchez Elementary PTA President Amelia Duron suggested, rather than closing the city-center campus, actively promoting it to Downtown workers. "We have extended care," she said. "If somebody worked Downtown till 5, 5:30, it would be convenient for them to pick their kids up after work." – R.W.

Multiyear Recommendations

Address top-priority renovations to fix campuses and create facility equity between schools (requires new bond)

Redraw school attendance zone boundaries every three years, starting in 2011

Schedule construction bond elections every four years, starting in 2012

Consider moving sixth grade from elementaries to middle schools to relieve overcrowding

Cut energy consumption to 70% of current baseline by 2020

Reduce dependence on portables for classrooms

Allow leases on all rented administrative office space to expire


Redraw boundaries in most critically overcrowded areas

Relocate the Alternative Learning Center

Sell Carruth Administration Center and Baker Center (value $39.5 million)


$500 million bond election

Consider closing/consolidating one middle school and four elementaries

Open Linder Early Childhood Center ($21.6 million, funded by 2008 bond)

Open School for Young Men (price, location, and funding source to be determined)


Consider closing/consolidating four elementaries

Open a new North Central elementary ($28.1 million, funded by 2004 bond)

Open performing arts center ($40 million, funded by 2008 bond)

Add classrooms at four elementaries ($4.8 million per school, requires new bond)


Open a second North Central elementary ($28.1 million, funded by 2008 bond) and two more elementaries where needed ($24.5 million each, requires new bond)

Open two career tech hubs (price, location, and funding source to be determined)

Add classrooms at two elementaries ($4.8 million per school, requires new bond)


Open new elementary, location to be determined ($24.5 million, requires new bond)

Add classrooms at one middle school and one elementary ($4.8 million each, requires new bond)


Open new Southeast middle school ($55.7 million, requires new bond)


Open new South high school ($106.6 million, requires new bond)

Posted here is the Austin ISD Facility Master Plan Task Force report, currently under review by the district administration and board of trustees.

Posted here is the "minority report" submitted to the Austin ISD Facility Master Plan Task Force and the board of trustees.

  • More of the Story

  • What the Task Force Wrought

    Austin ISD's facilities review became a panic drill of cuts, closings, and contradictions

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